Ask a Question forum: Hydrangea/ lavender "tree"

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West Orange, NJ (Zone 6b)
Budding Gardener Needs Help!
Jan 7, 2017 5:20 PM CST
Many questions from a newbie budding gardener!

Didn't bloom this summer. Many in my area didn't. Didn't prune in fall 'cause I didn't know what "old wood" means! Please explain.

Can I cut out dead stalks in the spring? When? What kind of fertilizer and when?

Bought a plant this summer which I think is lavender. Very aromatic. Woody stem with ball-shaped top. Put it in a pot outside. Did fine. Took it in the house when weather turned cold and rainy. Soil was soaked through. Tried to remove wet soil and added dry. Now top is dried-out and appears to be dying. Did I make wrong decision? It's a perennial. Can I save it? Sad Think not!
Any help will be appreciated. I will buy ($$) one again later in year and don't want to make same mistakes.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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Jan 7, 2017 5:43 PM CST
Hi Adrenne, and welcome. Is there any way you could post a picture of your lavender plant? It's hard to say if it might still survive but they really do not like to have wet feet, so maybe not. Lavender is a hardy perennial so really you should have planted it, or at least sunk the pot in the ground outside and left it to its devices rather than trying to keep it going indoors.

On the hydrangea, it would be best to wait on the pruning until it leafs out in the spring, at least. Then you'll know for sure what stems are actually dead, and which are just sleeping right now. If you can, wait until after the bush has bloomed - or if it doesn't bloom, wait until late summer after other hydrangeas have bloomed.

IF you prune your hydrangea at the wrong time you can cut off the stems that are getting ready to bloom. Some kinds bloom on "old wood" and some kinds will bloom on the stems that grew last summer which would be "new wood". A newly planted hydrangea wouldn't have much in the way of "old wood". So not pruning was a good decision

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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Jan 7, 2017 6:28 PM CST
I agree with Elaine, a picture of the lavender would be helpful. From what I understand the tree ones can be French lavender or Spanish lavender, the latter would potentially not be hardy in your zone, French lavender might be borderline. I don't know if hardier lavenders are also made into trees.

Old wood on a hydrangea is the previous year's growth, new wood is the current year's growth (I think that's also what Elaine meant to say). Those that set their flowers the year before, on "old wood", may lose those flowers in a harsh winter or if they are pruned after the flowers have initiated. Hydrangeas that flower on the current year's growth, "new wood" can be pruned up until spring and still flower. Do you have any idea what kind of hydrangea you have?

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